After 28 years of caring for disadvantaged and vulnerable families across the district an influential scheme manager is stepping down.

Kathy Butler has left Home Start Witham, Braintree and Halstead, where she has played a leading role in helping families give their children the best start possible in life.

In her time with the company, Kathy has helped thousands of families, and admits it is heartwarming to see youngsters she has helped now fully grown with their own families.

Kathy said: “It has been wonderful to see families grow in so many ways throughout my time with Home-Start.

“I have loved working with the parents and their children and would also like to thank so many people from organisations, churches and councils in and around the Braintree district area for making my role so enjoyable.

“I have seen lots of changes over the years, and I have seen lots of babies grow up, a lot of them still come up to me today and say hello.

“They have their own children now and it is fantastic to see.”

Kathy celebrated her achievements alongside the volunteers by having afternoon tea at the Witham office.

The 62-year-old managed six staff and 30 to 40 volunteers when she left the company, and her main role was recruiting and preparing volunteers to visit families in their homes.

And in her 28 years, Kathy recruited 1,420 volunteers and supported more than 8,000 families.

Home Start Witham Braintree & Halstead has now joined together with other schemes to form Home Start Essex, which will cover the Braintree district along with other areas across Essex.

Kathy will continue to support Home Start in Maldon during the transition period and will continue to keep in contact with the organisation.

And she is hoping the company continue to grow and evolve following on from her success.

She said: “For me, it was time I moved on, I have a granddaughter now and I have my hobbies.

“I have always been very committed and loyal to Home Start, and I hope one day I can return in some form.

“I am and have always been very holistic and hands on.

“I don’t necessarily expect that to continue the way I have done it but the support will continue.

“I am sure they will go from strength to strength making a huge contribution to these communities.

“The ethos is to support families, and that will always be the top priority.”

Home Start Essex provide home based parenting support to families if they have at least one child under five.

Matching a fully trained volunteer to support the family with both emotional and practical help that is free, confidential and non-judgmental.

Visit for more information about the services on offer.